An Australian man has sparked a debate about child support law after he revealed that he is paying for a child conceived through a one-night stand seven years ago.
He has never met his child yet has to pay 100 percent support under Australian law.
The man who uses the alias Patrick explained that he met up with a girl after chatting online for a few months in 2010.
She lived over 150 miles away so he drove to meet her one weekend. They went out for drinks and afterwards, he drove her home.
In hindsight, the young man wishes he’d been pulled over for a DUI that night because it would have saved him from what was to unfold. “I know I shouldn’t have driven, I wish I’d been pulled over for that," he said.
After having sex, he left around lunchtime the next day. He messaged the woman several times in the coming weeks but when he didn’t hear back, he assumed she wasn’t interested.
Then 12 weeks later, he received a message from the woman which read: “We need to talk urgently."
“I sat at my desk reading the words, my heart started fluttering and I just knew what she was going to say,” Patrick told News.com.au.
“I went out of the office at lunchtime to call her. She picked up straight away. ‘I’m pregnant,’ she said.
“ 'Right. How do you know it’s mine?' I asked. ‘I don’t know it’s yours,’ she replied.
“ 'So, you didn’t know you were pregnant after four weeks or eight weeks but now at 12 weeks you decide to tell me?', Patrick asked her.
He was suspicious and says he felt like she’d planned it.
He told the woman that she would need to think about the ramifications for both of them if he was the father.
She hung up and Patrick didn’t hear from her again until a man carrying a court order for DNA for child support knocked on his door.
Patrick now had a new partner and they had moved in together. But now, his whole world was about to be turned upside down.
He signed the court papers after being threatened that his assets would be seized if he didn’t.
Patrick explains what happened next cost him dearly: “I did the DNA test just before Christmas and had to stew on the results until January 20. The DNA cost me $2,000 plus I paid a lawyer, which cost around $5,000.”
It was revealed he was the father and he had to pay backdated the child support.
“Just like that I was $12,000 out of pocket”, he said.
“I was left reeling, thinking, ‘How am I going to pay my mortgage and bills plus this?’
"In the end, I had to rent my place out. My partner and I moved in with my parents", he explained.
Patrick began having problems at work and had to resign from his job. His mental health has suffered considerably since and he has still never met his son. He and his partner also split up, partly due to his financial problems.
He criticises the child support laws in Australia saying they are flawed and “outdated.”
He continues to support his son and hopes in the future they will have an opportunity to meet.
“I pay my child support and I hope one day my son comes looking for me”, he said.
“I’ve lost all hope — in politics, in the system, in life.”